Ferrer outlasts González in three-set thriller to set up repeat of 2008 final
David Ferrer overcame a spirited fightback from Fernando Gonzalez in the second semi final of the Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell on Saturday to set up a repeat of last year’s final with Rafael Nadal. The fourth seed blasted his way back from a first set drubbing to dominate his Chilean opponent in the second, before almost letting the match slip away in a nervous finish.
World No. 13 Ferrer was made to work hard for a place in his 14th ATP World Tour final (7-6 record). Gonzalez started the match producing some of his best tennis to break twice and take a one-set lead 6-2 before Ferrer was able to make his mark in the encounter and convert two of three break points in the second set to level the match. The Javea native then took charge in the deciding set as he raced out to a 5-2 lead.
"It was a crazy match that could have gone either way," commented Ferrer. "When he double faulted, I saw a light. I played well, very aggressive, although I need to serve a bit better. I'm happy with my form and to have played well here. I love this tournament and its history."
The 14th-ranked Gonzalez hit back to break to love as Ferrer served for the match at 5-4 and replicated his form from the first set as he pushed the set to a deciding tie-break. However, the Chilean remained frustrated by Ferrer’s perseverance and crucially double-faulted at 5-5 before netting a forehand to grant Ferrer victory after two hours and 13 minutes.
"It's been a hard week physically. Kukushkin was a difficult match, against Starace I was almost on my home and I came back, and today was also tough. But as the days go by I feel myself in better form."
The Alicante-based Ferrer’s victory sets up an eighth all-Spanish final in the 57-year history of the event, and the fourth in the last five years. The odds are stacked against the world No.13, who becomes the seventeenth player to reach the final in successive appearances. Of the other sixteen, none were successful in their attempt to win a title having lost on the first occasion.
Ferrer will be attempting to block world #1 Rafael Nadal’s attempt to secure an unprecedented fifth consecutive win in Barcelona, having achieved precisely the same feat last week in Monte Carlo.
The pair has met nine times on the ATP World Tour, with Nadal currently leading their head to head series 6-3. The last meeting between the two was in the final here one year ago, when Ferrer briefly threatened to upset Nadal’s attempt at a record fourth title, capturing the second set before capitulating 61 46 61.
The 27-year-old Ferrer, who reached a career-high No. 4 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings in February 2008, improved to a 23-8 match record as he advanced to his second final of the season. In February, the right-hander finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the Dubai final on hard court. He takes a 21-37 record against Top 10 players into the final against No. 1 Nadal.
"Rafa is the World No. 1 and the best on clay, it's very difficult to beat him," admitted Ferrer. "I'll try to play good tennis, if not I'm dead, but I'm not thinking about whether or not I'll beat him, I go on the court to play as well as possible."